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New Numbers for a New Week: Retail Sales, BofA Earnings

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Ahead of the initial opening bell to ring in the first full week of Q1 earnings season, we get busy right out of the gate. Retail Sales, Empire State Manufacturing and another big Wall Street bank reports earnings in Monday’s early hours. Also, the world’s largest public relations company, WPP PLC (WPP - Free Report) , is losing its long-time CEO immediately to alleged personal misconduct.

CEO Martin Sorrell is stepping down from the company he oversaw for the past 33 years, including its IPO on the Nasdaq. The company is now worth GBP 15.26 billion ($21.83 billion U.S.), or it was before ADRs sold off 4.4% in today’s pre-market. No details were provided by the company regarding the nature of the alleged scandal.

Retail Sales rebounded in March following three disappointing reads in a row. We see this morning a headline read of +0.6%, roughly double what analysts had been expecting. Swapping out auto prices that figure lands at +0.2% and ex-auto & gas, +0.3%. But finally the market sees evidence of a strengthening consumer after last holiday season and the massive tax cut legislation from late 2017.

Empire State numbers also hit the tape this morning: following a relatively strong +22.5 last month, the March read posted a lower +15.8%. This was lower than the 19.1% expected. Because these numbers are essentially regional, they tend to carry a bit of volatility month over month — especially compared with more all-encompassing monthly economic data elsewhere — and this morning’s report is no exception. Its release did not look to impact pre-market futures at all.

Bank of America (BAC - Free Report) modestly beat estimates on both top and bottom lines for its Q1 report: earnings of 62 cents per share outperformed the Zacks consensus by 3 cents, while quarterly revenues of $23.1 billion surpassed the $22.9 billion expected. The Zacks Rank #3 (Hold)-rated company saw strength in loans and deposits, keeping its string of quarterly earnings beats (averaging 8.8% over the previous 4 quarters) alive. For more on BAC’s earnings, click here.

After today’s close, Netflix (NFLX - Free Report) earnings are among the most hotly anticipated. The Zacks Rank #2 (Buy)-rated company is expected to fetch 63 cents per share on $3.69 billion in sales, demonstrating growth of 57.5% and 39.9%, respectively. Keep in mind, however, Netflix has not posted a quarterly earnings beat since the March 2017 quarter.

Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

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